Duane Kaurin, a Great Falls gardener, fisher, reader, husband, father and friend left this world on Sunday, June 7. He died while listening to classical music — his favorite — with his daughter, Delene, by his side. He was 82 years old.
Duane was born in Lewistown in 1937. Growing up, his family managed the Gem Cafe, familiar to any Fergus County old timer, and he worked all over the restaurant. It’s where he developed his hard work ethic and also, perhaps, his love of feeding and being fed.
After graduating from Fergus High School in 1956, his belief in doing a job well carried him through a variety of professions. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December of ‘56 and served for four years, during which he got a tattoo and learned how to properly mop a deck. After his military service, he worked as a cook and a policeman in Lewistown and then a co-manager of the Union Bus Terminal with his father, moving to Great falls in the early ‘70s with four young, rambunctious kids and the love of his life, Arlene Kaurin, in tow.
While he kept busy managing the bus terminal and later working as a travelling salesman for Carl Weissman, he made sure time with family was special. He loved being outdoors and would regularly take his kids hunting, fishing and camping close to where he grew up in the Snowy Mountains and the surrounding area.
Duane made life a little more magical. He’d catch a “clicker bug” and have it click near your ear, exclaiming, “Oh, I’ve found it!” He was known for his Donald Duck voice, which he even pulled out in his final days for his newborn grandson. He put salt and pepper in his Guinness, and he always had the twinkle-iest twinkle in his eye.
He was giving of his time and his resources — almost to a fault. He was known to give a $100 bill to a stranger who seemed down on their luck, without telling anyone, even when he didn’t have the money to give away. He once met someone at the bus depot with nowhere to go and welcomed the man into his own home.
After almost retiring, Duane couldn’t help himself and got a job as a housekeeper for Columbus Deaconess Hospital, staying on as a volunteer after that. In his spare time, he also gardened, read Smithsonian Magazine, sang in the choir at Redeemer Lutheran Church and volunteered as a CASA for children.
Duane loved everybody, in a way that was pure and unassuming. In his later years, his family remembers him teaching them some of life’s most important lessons: how to waltz, how to gut a fish and that many roads lead to heaven.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents, Robert (Bob) and Jessie Guthrie Kaurin as well as his brother Glenn Kaurin. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Arlene Kaurin; daughter Delene (Kevin) Hollingworth; sons Kevin (Sheila), Darryl (Shelley) and Greg (Meta) Kaurin; grandchildren Abby and Tony Lynes; Angela, Mac, Trevan and Anan Kaurin and Melodie Paubert and one very large, very sweet golden retriever named Vally.
There will be a public viewing for Duane at Croxford Funeral Home this Thursday, June 11, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a public service to be announced at a later date.
Donations may be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church, 332 Riverview 3 W, Great Falls, MT 59404, or to a charity of your choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Duane Richard Kaurin, please visit our floral store.